From Justin: War of the Worlds Withdrawal

Posted on 02/01/2008

I’ve had ‘spectacular tour’ withdrawal symptoms since the ‘War of The Worlds’ tour finished at the O2 Arena in December. To be part of a team so professional as the WOTW touring company was a real pleasure. Every day I was astounded by how the crew actually did it. The logistics of the operation were immense, and the attention to detail, from the giant mechanical and audiovisual effects down to the exact items of fruit in the dressing rooms was immaculate.
I do hope everyone who managed to see the show enjoyed it. I certainly did and I hope we can all go round again one day soon.

Touring in the UK is never easy, and my friend Martin and I decided to try and make it back to London most nights after the show, or as often as we could during the tour, which meant covering a lot of miles in the car. Most nights we would be out of the venue and on our way south before the audience hit the exit doors, with our ears still ringing with the fabulous sounds of the Black Smoke Band.

Over Christmas I mixed the new version of ‘Nights’ and ‘Late Lament’ recorded in Russia in November for the Moody Blues ‘Nights’ ride at the new Hard Rock Park at Myrtle Beach, which is due to open this summer. We recorded the Moodies bit on the road earlier in the year. With huge contributions from Alberto and Danilo it has turned out even better than any of us could have hoped for. Lets see if the ride lives up to the music. ‘Late Lament’ is voiced by the three of us, and dare I say it, I am preferring it now to the original. Not better – just different. You’ll see what I mean when you hear it.

Moscow was a truly memorable experience for Alberto and myself. The two of us arrived there coming from bright lovely Paris into a snowy Moscow morning. It’s a sometimes dark, heavy and serious place, and not a little disturbing, particularly for Alberto who is so used to the happy carefree Italian way of life.

Russia is a cultural revelation and Moscow is a vast giant city. I had the feeling of serious drama being played out all around, and I am very glad to have had the opportunity to stay among such strong history for a time. I must say I really enjoyed it – for a while!
When we eventually got back to Paris a few days later Alberto was suddenly smiling and joking again. I felt pretty good myself to be back!

I have also not been to many counties that kind of ‘missed out’ on Elvis, Buddy and the rest at the very time rock music was being established. It means that a huge part of our culture and background is missing from their experience.
The musicians, though, were excellent and friendly, as was the Russian sound engineer who collected all the music perfectly. And, I was very pleased that all the classical players we worked with knew and loved ‘Nights’. I was told more than once on the sessions “This song very big hit in Russia” by some of them when they could find someone to interpret what they wanted to say to me.

Moodies tour time is approaching fast once again and as usual I’m looking forward to being with ‘the gang’. Another new tour manager and a new production manager. What will they make of us – and we of them?

I’m writing this on the terrace under the wide late afternoon sky with the birds circling high, high above, in the space between the town and the mountains. Do they do it for pleasure?

The sunsets can be so dramatic at this time of year around the Mediterranean coast and this is my favourite time of day. It’s a kind of still limbo between the work of the day and the cool rest of the evening.

I’ve been working on some demos at a favourite local studio recently and my old Martin D28 still sounds as beautiful as ever.

I’m going to play it now.

Love,

Justin

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

By W.B. Yeats